ABDULLAH AL MUBARAK AIR BASE, Kuwait --
For the more than 140,000 service members that transit through the busiest aerial port of debarkation every year, waiting conditions are now a whole lot better.
Recently, Airmen from the 387th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron joined together with a specialized team from Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico, to repurpose tents to the bus yard at AMAB. The temporary waiting area is more comfortable for newly deployed military members representing all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces, who will continue on to their final destination in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility.
“Most passengers who enter the country through the APOD process through the bus yard,” said Capt. Jerry Carroll, 387th Expeditionary Support Squadron civil engineer officer in charge. “The wait time there can be anywhere from 30 minutes to three hours, depending on the situation.”
After the aircraft lands, deployers are taken to wait at the bus yard while their luggage is divided by destination and then palletized.
Previously, these passengers waited outside at picnic tables and benches or a few of them could spend time in a small air conditioned area. Depending on the time of day, they could be exposed to temperatures in excess of 100 degrees for that time period.
In addition to being away from the heat the tents will have more seating and wi-fi, according to Carroll.
“By reutilizing two small shelters, we were able to double the amount of air conditioned space available to passengers within a limited footprint,” added Carroll. “When you get here, you’re exhausted after almost a day of travel. This small comfort will have a big impact on new deployers.”
Over the course of two nights, the combined team was able to tear down an entire camp of tents that were no longer being used and then erect these tents in the bus yard. Luckily, during the build they did not have to face some of the challenges they saw over the course of their deployment, like high winds and dust storms.
The Holloman team, who specializes in maintaining, inventorying, erecting and disassembling tents of all forms, has been traveling the AOR for the past three months doing just that.
“I’ve learned a lot during this deployment, every step of the way,” said Airman Brian Liefer, 49th Materiel Maintenance Squadron structures team. “It’s nice to be able to leave the [United] States and come here and see the impact of what we do.”